Dog tale wags for kids

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Colenso BBDO, Pedigree, and the Auckland Council animal management team have launched A Dog’s Story, an interactive adventure for children and their parents to learn dog safety together.

“They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but you can certainly educate kids and their parents to learn dog safety together and to build long lasting loving relationships between dogs and people,” said Colenso digital planning director Neville Doyle.

Every year in New Zealand there are nearly 9000 dog bite incidents and around a third of these involve children under the age of nine. Approximately 75% of these incidents occur in the home or an environment where the dog is known to the child and most often because the child doesn’t understand how to behave safely around dogs. This can sometimes result in the dog being put down.

The Dog’s Story project was set in motion back in February 2015 when Pedigree and Colenso completed a worldwide search for educational tools for children – and realised that the resources available were very limited, and those that were in existence were not easily scalable or distributed.

Oliver Downs, marketing director at Mars Petcare which owns and distributes Pedigree in NZ, says the company aims to the make the world a better place for dogs and people to live together and the app is an important educational tool to help achieve this.

“At the end of each lesson, the character leaves you with a catchphrase that sums up the overall lesson in a simple, memorable way.”

Kids like the app
“Having dogs can deeply enrich our lives,” he said. “However most incidents of dog bites occur due to kids not understanding how and why dogs behave the way they do. Our aim with A Dog’s Story is to help people, especially kids, understand how to enjoy a great relationship with dogs.”

He says the app is particularly appealing to children because it is a visually and mentally stimulating experience designed in a way that helps with memory retention.

“It is based around eight core lessons providing a fundamental understanding of the most important and commonly unknown guidelines around dog safety, such as how to greet a dog safely, how to pat them, how to behave when they are eating and what to do if one runs towards you.

“If the child chooses a wrong answer such as patting the dog incorrectly, the characters will tell them why it’s not right and the dog will behave accordingly. When correct answers are chosen, the child is told why it’s the right thing to do.”

Downs says every aspect of each dog’s body language within the experience mirrors how dogs behave in real life.

“At the end of each lesson, the character leaves you with a catchphrase that sums up the overall lesson in a simple, memorable way.”

Neville Doyle said: “At the heart of Pedigree is the desire to make the world a better place for dogs and dog owners. When we set out on this process last year with Pedigree and realized the lack of resources available, we felt it was the chance to do something with real social value.

“We were delighted to be able to bring Auckland City into the process to help us get A Dog’s Story into all schools where it can do the most good.

Global ambitions
“Given the scalable nature of digital content however, we are aiming for it to reach far beyond just New Zealand. This app is available for download globally and we hope it can help to educate children all around the world.”

Oliver Downs says with over 85% of New Zealand households having access to a smart device and ever-increasing numbers of tablets becoming educational tools in primary schools, it made perfect sense to produce A Dog’s Story as an app.

“In addition, children have an instinctive ability to operate smart devices so we felt A Dog’s Story could make the biggest impact as an app,” he said.

Pedigree aims to roll out A Dog Storyglobally after launching in New Zealand, similar to its other New Zealand-led initiatives Found (the lost dog app) and K9FM (the radio station programmed for dogs.


The app is compatible with most mobile devices, is free to download (data costs apply), and has no in app purchases.  


Client: MARS New Zealand
Brand Manager, Dog and Specialty: Maria Granados
National Business Operations Manager: Debbie Lang
Marketing Director : Oliver Downs
Agency: Colenso BBDO
Media: Starcom
Sound Design: Franklin Road
Animation: Watermark

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